They say that God doesn’t give you any more than you can handle, and I like to think that’s true, but I do believe that sometimes He slips a few more pounds in your pack while you’re not looking and sends you on an uphill trek.
I know that because I have twins.
Aug. 3 was National Twins Day, and I observed it by reliving the mania of the Early Years.
I’ll set the stage by saying that I happen to have two older children who were born a year-and-a-half apart, so I can speak from direct experience and tell you unequivocally that two babies born less than two years apart is challenging, but two babies born one minute apart is in another category altogether.
I was on bedrest for the last trimester before their birth because my doctor routinely ordered that for his patients carrying multiples. I laid there in my command center of the den sofa as friends and family stopped in to bring dinners and pick up or drop off my other two tykes. These helpful people always had faces awash in sympathy for me — poor soul! — confined to the couch for three months, but I was thinking all the while, “Hey, this is as easy as it’s ever going to get.”
Never have I been right to such a colossal degree.
I knew that it would be hard after the birth, but I did think that sometime during their first year of life, I would be able to get to the mailbox. No, it wasn’t until they were 13 months old that I finally emerged from the house, tangle-haired and droopy-eyed, wearing a bathrobe speckled with crusty Cheerios. I peeked my haggard face out of the front door and paused for a moment to adjust to the light of day, then collected myself and made the trip to the curb, hoping against hope that I would not encounter a perky mom in a tennis skirt.
As an encore, my husband took me out to dinner. I showered and put on lipstick and a bra that didn’t have nursing flaps. I wore a nice dress and must have cleaned up pretty well, because one of those moms who had dropped off food for me a few months earlier happened to be dining at the same restaurant and was convinced that my husband was with another woman. She told her spouse: “I’ve SEEN Robin, and that’s not Robin!” The man actually came over to verify.
When I learned I was carrying twins, I had two prayers: Please, God, let them be healthy, and please, God, let them be friends. Thankfully, they were born large, strong and healthy. As they aged, they forged a friendship – honestly, it was more like an alliance in “Survivor.”
See, the thing about twins is that they destroy in tandem.
They use their secret twin-speak to gang up against you. Before they could even talk, my toddler sons could communicate subversively with each other to figure out how to make a break from their playpen. The brains of the operation would find the weakest link and point it out to the brawn, who then barreled through it.
Between two toddlers, there is always enough energy for a tantrum.
One would have a crying fit, then pause for a break and pass the baton to his brother, who’d pick up where the first one left off.
On the days I took them to preschool, they each clung, sobbing, to one of my legs so that I entered the building looking like I was trying to free myself from a pair of wailing koala bears.
Twins moms often whispered encouragingly to me, “It gets easier.” I kept wondering when that would happen, and I finally realized that it got easier when the boys left the house and went to college.
They turned 21 last fall, and for the first time in their lives they were not able to celebrate their birthday together. They were truly disappointed to be apart for their milestone, to a degree that warmed their mother’s heart.
Yes, they are healthy, and, yes, they are friends… and somehow, by the grace of God, their mother handled it.